Although it was discovered in the morning that the cross weighed 2.7 tonnes more than the expected weight, it did not halt the installation of the cross or the continued assembly of the memorial. Jaanis Kuld, the Estonian representative of the Czech company Sans Souci, said that there was no doubt that the cross will be installed on top of the memorial by evening. “However, before we started installing the cross, we wanted to determine the cause for the differences in weight. It was determined that the lighting solution for the memorial had not been calculated in the memorial’s estimated weight,” said Kuld.
The final finishing work of the memorial is continuing, and the entire structure will be covered with temporary scaffolding until its formal unveiling in June.
The Cross of Liberty was established by the Provisional Government on 24 February 1919, and it was designed by the acclaimed Estonian artist Nikolai Triik. The Cross of Liberty had three classes with three ranks in each class. 1st class - bestowed to give recognition for military services, 2nd class - bestowed to give recognition for personal bravery, and 3rd class - bestowed to give recognition for administrative and civil services.
The Cross of Liberty was the most estimable of Estonia’s decorations and its recipients were entitled by law to a number of privileges and benefits. A total of 3132 Crosses of Liberty were conferred from 1919 to 1925, nearly a third of the recipients were foreign citizens who contributed to Estonia’s War of Independence.
The 2nd class 1st rank Cross of Liberty, the highest award for personal bravery, is the only award to have never been bestowed. The image of the 2nd class 1st rank Cross of Liberty is also the central motif of the memorial of the War of Independence that will be unveiled in June, and with it the authors of the memorial confer this highest honour symbolically to all Estonians and to all who over the years have defended Estonia’s independence with arms or with their words.
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